House of Style
The Row, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen’s luxe womenswear brand, makes a striking brick-and-mortar debut
The bank vault–size door that marks the entrance to The Row’s airy new flagship in Los Angeles is akin to a portal into another world. Something about the elevated pool that glimmers turquoise in an outdoor courtyard, the calming trill of Joni Mitchell’s “Help Me” throughout the white concrete rooms, and the plethora of elegantly distressed furniture might make you feel as if you’ve stumbled upon the most fabulous therapist’s office of all time—as opposed to a boutique housing the pre-fall offerings of Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen’s sumptuous fashion line.
This is, in fact, the intention. “You are met by something unexpected—a retail gallery [with] more of a midcentury residential character,” says Santa Monica architect David Montalba, who collaborated on the project with the Olsen sisters and interior designer Courtney Applebaum and oversaw the building’s extensive renovation. Set in a 3,800-square-foot space that formerly housed the Sally Hershberger at John Frieda salon (and, before that, belonged to Neil Diamond), the immersive study in shopping embodies the refined-eclectic lifestyle of the Row woman. Sergej Jensen and John Tweddle paintings grace the entryway walls; design tome The World of Ornament crowns a stone-surfaced table; and an antique Mexican gorilla sculpture basks in the sun.
True to the store’s subtle only-in-L.A. aesthetic, there’s also an emphasis on homegrown craftsmanship. All the fixtures—from the matte-steel-and-wood display shelves showcasing Manolo Blahniks to the dark-wood vitrines containing baubles by Sidney Garber—were crafted by local artisans. Alongside the brand’s trademark round-frame sunglasses and reversible capes are statement pieces (also for sale) curated from local furniture and antiques dealers JF Chen, Galerie Half, Blackman Cruz, and Thomas Hayes Gallery. Highlights include a Jean Prouvé dining table, a Fortuny floor lamp, and a set of Paul McCobb woven-leather chairs—just the sort of sophisticated choices one might expect to find in the home of, say, Linda Rodin, the silver-haired 60-something beauty mogul who recently starred in The Row’s lookbook. As Montalba says: “You just want to stay and hang out.” —Melissa Goldstein